He paused, and out of the blue disclosed what seemed an odd piece of news: “Apparently,” he said, “the Kurds have been reading my work and are trying to implement my ideas.” He said it so casually and off-handedly that it was as if he didn’t quite believe it himself.My father, eighty-three years old at the time, had spent six decades writing hundreds of articles and twenty-four books articulating an anticapitalist vision of an ecological, democratic, egalitarian society that would eliminate the domination of human by human, and bring humanity into harmony with the natural world, a body of ideas he called “social ecology.” Although his work was well-known within anarchist and libertarian left circles, his was hardly a household name.
Today, female recruits, like men, take up arms to protect their people and other minorities from ISIS and chase the extremist group from what they consider as their territories.
Often seen wearing their hair loose or in a ponytail, carrying Kalashnikovs, they look young, determined and at least as courageous as their male counterparts., who usually depict them as heroic, highly trained combatants willing to sacrifice their lives to defeat the brutal invader that is ISIS.
Iraqi Kurdish female fighter Haseba Nauzad and Yazidi female fighter Asema Dahir aim their weapon near the frontline of the fight against Islamic State militants near Mosul, Iraq, April 20, 2016.
REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah Women have been a part of the Kurdish military forces in Iraqi Kurdistan and the People’s Protection Unit in the Kurdish region of Syria for decades, fighting alongside men to achieve the nationalistic goals of Kurdish rebel movements.
Unexpectedly, that week, he had received a letter from an intermediary writing on behalf of the jailed Kurdish activist Abdullah Öcalan, head of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
As its co-founder, sole theoretician, and undisputed leader, Öcalan had a larger-than-life reputation—but nothing about his ideology seemed in any way to resemble my father’s.
Founded in 1978 as a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist organization, the PKK had for thirty years been waging an insurgent war on behalf of the roughly 15 million Kurds living in Turkey who have suffered a long history of violence.
For decades, Turkey has prohibited Kurds from speaking their own language, wearing customary dress, using Kurdish names, teaching the Kurdish language in schools, or even playing Kurdish music.
Transported to the remote Turkish island of Imrali, in the inland Sea of Marmara, Öcalan was tried and convicted on treason charges.
His death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment because Turkey was then trying to enter the European Union, which opposes capital punishment.